When I was little I never wore jeans. Ever.
“Dungarees”-as my grandfather called them-have long been a staple of childhood wardrobes; yet not mine. From the age of 3 until 12, I exercised a modicum of choice and perhaps an occasional tantrum to keep my inner thighs from the bite-y seams of rough denim. I hated them with the fire of one thousand suns, and since I hated very little at that age (basically just blue jeans and anyone who dated Doogie Howser) my family obliged by allowing me to dress in softer fabrics and keep on dreaming of a future life as the child bride of an adolescent physician.
Finally, in eighth grade I decided it was time for my lady bits to toughen the fuck up and take on a pair of jeans. I had pretty much exhausted my uniform of stretch pants, thermal bodysuit and flannel shirt (worn casually around my waist-Seattle style). I was cognizant at 12 years old that my contemporaries were not wearing the same brand of stirrup pants as their grandmother (culled from either the Spiegel or Fingerhut catalogs) and I knew I needed to update my wardrobe.
The problem was that my parents absolutely REFUSED to buy me clothing that didn’t come from a super uncool department store. Whenever they paid off their snowblower or bedroom set (Sears/JC Penney) my folks would tote me down to the far corners of the mall to try and get me a small wardrobe that would hopefully last longer than our last ‘spree’. Unfortunately, I failed to realize that the reason my parents refused to spend eighty dollars (in 1996, so with inflation we’re probably talking about 120.00 now) on a pair of jeans was because I was growing at such a rapid rate that both my pants and the skin underneath them were tearing (haaaaaaaaay stretch marks) so why bother? While I sat ostracized in my ‘Arizona Jean Company’ flares, I thought my parents were terribly unfair people who were probably squirreling away my jeans money for bottles of White Zinfandel and perms. I vowed that when I made my own money, I would spend it on the clothes I wanted to.
I didn’t have to wait long, because a very
stupid trusting woman asked me to babysit her infant and toddler every Saturday while she went to work at a craft store. After a month of being puked on, pooped on, having a lego mashed into my right eye and making more blue boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese than my stoner college roommates could consume in their wildest dreams, I had enough money to buy one sale pair of denim at Abercrombie and Fitch. I took a day off from the monster children and went to the mall with my friend Lindsey. I came home with two gorgeous pairs of jeans…and all of my money. Lindsey was a prolific shoplifter.
At around three months pregnant it became pretty clear that my jeans (Old Navy’s ‘Diva’ cut-sheesh, what an embarrassing name!) were not going to make it much longer. The button was popping on its own and my jerry-rigged safety pin and industrial strength elastic band was just not going to hack it anymore.
My mother enthusiastically offered to take me to the maternity store and buy my first pair of pregnancy jeans. She basically had to cajole me into the pair (with a promise of lunch after), but once I slipped that denim up over my hips and extended that stretchy fabric waistband up over my burgeoning belly-I was hooked. I bought three more pairs.
Why the fuck haven’t I been wearing pregnancy jeans all of my goddamned life? Why don’t you?
Let me explain my plight. While my first pair of designer jeans may have been the laughable size 00 (double zero? Why are we encouraging our youth to strive for ‘double nothing’?!), my new size as a 30 year old was what some people might refer to as ‘Apple Bottomed’ (“Boots with the furrrrrrr.”). My thighs are on the slimmer side, but my hips and ass would give Kanye West pause. Jeans are NOT cut for ladies like me, and I very often find my legs swimming in a double-digit sized pair of denim that fits my ass and hips nicely.
With maternity jeans the waistband ensured that there was enough stretchy, glorious room for my bodaciousness. Not only that, but the panel also helped cover that three inch swath of belly/back that always seems to be at risk for exposure due to my looooooong torso.
Immediately after having Rosie I still had a bit of a belly (ok, a LOT of a belly-I had an almost 11 pound child). Slipping on those jeans made me feel put together, even when my hair wasn’t washed and I had baby poop on my sleeve so I didn’t want to give them up. I hung onto them for almost an entire year post-partum and finally just recently resolved myself to buy a bigger pair of regular jeans and retire mine to the Rubbermaid container.
The other day I was walking through Target. My basket was an interesting mix; a ruffled baby bikini for my daughter, some crunchy Cheetos (those kind collect the maximum amount of neon orange cheese dust), adorable drinking straws, designer thumbtacks, frozen fake chicken nuggets, tinfoil and nail polish remover. I passed the Liz Lange Maternity section and my breath caught in my throat. There, on the racking was the most perfect pair of dark indigo wash skinny jeans with the stretchiest, most comfortable looking navy elastic panel.
I stood there dumbstruck for a moment, wondering if I could sneak the new pair home and try to convince my husband that they were back from the pregnancy. I may have been staring for what may have been a bit too long, because Rosie had decided to empty an entire ‘GoGo Squeeze’ apple sauce packet in her lap. Snapping into mom-mode, I fished around in my tote bag, and found some wipes. In the middle of the aisle, while I was giving my kiddo a bath with a moist towelette, my eyes drifted to the other side. Right there amongst the novelty printed pantyhose was another beacon of comfort and hope: Motherfucking Jeggings, y’all! I had forgotten all about those jean/cotton hybrids and as I smugly whipped a pair into my cart, the ten year old girl in me did that Arsenio Hall fist-copter thing, because mom jeans are rad.